2008 Asia Series
The 2008 Asia Series was the 4th Konami Cup Asia Series. The Seibu Lions won the Series, which consisted of three franchises named Lions; South Korea's Samsung Lions had fallen in the playoffs and were unable to make it four out of four. Tomoaki Sato was the MVP of the Series.
|China||CBL||Tianjin Lions||Winner of the China Baseball League. The first regular CBL team to play in the Series; past Series had used an All-Star CBL team.|
|Japan||NPB||Seibu Lions||Winner of the 2008 Japan Series, defeated the Yomiuri Giants (4-3)|
|South Korea||KBO||SK Wyverns||Winner of the 2008 Korean Series, defeated the Doosan Bears (4-1)|
|Taiwan||CPBL||Uni-President Lions||Winner of the 2008 Taiwan Series, defeated the Brother Elephants (4-3)|
|Tianjin Lions (CBL)||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||4||7||0|
|Uni-President Lions (CPBL)||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||4||7||7||1|
The 2008 Asia Series opened with an exciting match-up between the Taiwan and China champions.
Tianjin jumped to a 4-0 lead after four and looked to get the first win ever in an Asia Series by a club from China.
Unfortunately for them, Taiwan rallied. Fu-Hao Liu homered off Changlong Su in the 5th. Kang-Lin Huang and Wu-Hsiung Pan followed with doubles to close the gap to 4-3. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Alvarado allowed one hit and no runs from the 4th through 8th innings for the Uni-President Lions.
Entering the 9th, Tianjin still led the Uni-President Lions 4-3. With one on and two outs in the 9th, rookie Chun-Yu Kuo pinch-hit against Jiangang Lu and singled in Liu with the tying run on a line drive to left field. After another batter reached, Pan hit a 3-run walk-off homer. Pan said “I knew it was going to be a base hit right after I hit it, but I didn’t think it was going to leave the park.” Yi-Cheng Tseng got the win and Lu the loss.
|Seibu Lions (NPB)||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||3||7||0|
|SK Wyverns (KBO)||0||1||0||3||0||0||0||0||-||4||7||1|
Seibu started strong on a double by Shogo Akada and a RBI single by 2B Hiroshi Hirao off of Kwang-hyun Kim in the first. SK quickly tied when RF Jae-hong Park homered against Kazuyuki Hoashi. The shot was not without controversy as replays indicated that it was on the foul side of the left-field pole.
In the 4th, Jin-young Lee singled and DH Jae-won Lee hit a 2-run homer off Hoashi - this time there was no doubt as the ball hit the foul post. Later in that inning, LF Jae-sang Park singled in a 4th run for the Wyverns.
Takumi Kuriyama and Hirao drove in runs in the 5th but SK's pitching then took over and held Seibu to no hits over the final four. Seung-ho Lee got the win with 3 shutout innings of relief. The other relief stars were Kil-hyoun Yun and Woo-ram Jung. They were a stark contrast to starter Kwang-hyun Kim, who had dominated Japanese teams in prior events but failed to make it through the 5th inning. Hoashi took the loss, allowing 4 runs in 3 1/3 IP.
It marked the second time in four Series that a Japanese team lost - and both losses were at the hands of the Wyverns.
|SK Wyverns (KBO)||0||0||7||2||2||0||4||-||-||15||14||0|
|Tianjin Lions (CBL)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||0||5||3|
The mercy rule came into play as South Korea crushed China in game 3. After two hitless innings, SK came alive in the third with 7 hits, a walk, 3 steals and 7 runs. Joo-hwan Na opened with a double, then C Sang-ho Jung singled him home and the onslaught had begun.
|Uni-President Lions (CPBL)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0|
|Seibu Lions (NPB)||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||-||2||5||0|
Japan Series MVP Takayuki Kishi was the star of the show in this one, holding the Uni-President Lions to 2 hits, 2 walks and one run while fanning 10.
The only run for Taiwan's team came in the 4th when 2B Sen Yang hit a long double and came around on a sacrifice fly by Tilson Brito. Seibu quickly answered, getting their only scores off Wei-Lun Pan in the bottom of the 4th. 1B Yoshihito Ishii scored on a single by OF Hiroyuki Oshima. Ginjiro Sumitani followed with a double. Shogo Akada then hit one to right and Chun-Yu Kuo was unable to hang on to Akada's double, allowing the winning run to score.
|Seibu Lions (NPB)||2||3||6||2||0||3||0||-||-||16||13||0|
|Tianjin Lions (CBL)||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||2||4||2|
Tianjin, after a strong first game, was once again clearly outmatched. Seibu got on the board quickly against Wei Chen, scoring twice. China responded against Ming-Chieh Hsu, when Yubin Luo singles in two runs in the bottom of the first. While Hsu was yanked in the third, three relievers helped close out the win without allowing any more runs. Koji Onuma got the win.
In the second, slumping 3B Takeya Nakamura launched a 3-run homer into the upper tier of the left field stands to make it 5-0. That was the last run allowed by Chen but his bullpen was no better. In the third, Seibu scored six times, aided by two Tianjin errors.
|SK Wyverns (KBO)||0||1||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||4||8||1|
|Uni-President Lions (CPBL)||0||0||0||5||1||0||0||4||-||10||12||1|
The Wyverns took their first loss and it was a critical one as it eliminated them from a chance to win the Series. As they were tied with Seibu and the Uni-President Lions, the tiebreaker of fewest runs allowed decided that the Wyverns would be the one 2-1 team left out of the finale.
The star of the show was RF Fu-Hao Liu, who hit a 3-run homer in the 4th and another 3-run homer in the 8th.
Jin-young Lee went deep off Yueh-Ping Lin in the second to put the favorites ahead, but starter Byeong-yong Chae fell apart in the 4th. With two on, Sen Yang singled in the tying run, then Liu hit his first homer, followed immediately by C Chih-Kang Kao's blast. Lien-Hung Chen added a third Lions homer in the 5th. In the 6th, the Wyverns closed it to 6-3. Keun-woo Jeong reached on an error and Jae-sang Park doubled, followed by a triple by Dong-hwa Cho. In the 8th, they made it 6-4 when Park singled in Jeong, before Liu's second homer put it out of reach.
8 Wyverns pitchers failed to slow the Lions' bats. Yueh-Ping Lin got the win, allowing 3 runs and striking out 6 in 7 innings.
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|Seibu Lions (NPB)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||6||1|
The Series ended with an excellent pitching duel between two of the Lions outfits. Giancarlo Alvarado tossed six shutout innings for the Uni-President Lions, while Seibu's Hideaki Wakui struck out 10 in 6 2/3 IP of scoreless work. Koji Onuma, Tomoki Hoshino and Shinya Okamoto relieved Wakui and gave up nothing, while Taiwan's bullpen yielded nothing in the 7th or 8th.
In the bottom of the 9th, Wei-Lun Pan got the first two batters out and got a full count on Yoshihito Ishii. There was then a controversial call when the umpire said Ishii did not commit on a check swing that would have forced extra innings if it had been a strike. Manager Wen-Sheng Lu employed an outfield shift, moving his center fielder over to right because Tomoaki Sato tended to hit towards right. The ploy backfired as Sato lined one into the gap in left-center, allowing Ishii to score from first on the Series-winning double.